I LIKE INSTANT NOODLES

Do you?

Dave and I are adding a new and online lit mag. to Devil’s Party Press to increase the amount of exposure we can give to writers over 40.

Check out the link, and see if IN is right for you!

On an unrelated note… I did eat instant noodles on Monday, for breakfast, and they were… amazing. Of course.

THIS IS A BOOK I PUBLISHED

It isn’t often I get to publish women. They don’t submit nearly as often as the men. What does that mean? Does it mean they are not writing as often as the men or does it mean they are not submitting as often as the men? I don’t know, but they are certainly as good as the men, and sometimes their fellow women relate to them more, and such is the case with this beautiful book. Check it out.

SPECIAL POWERS

This is the front of my slightly grimy shirt.

I am having trouble finding peace this week. Are you?

This shirt is possibly trying to tell me something. It is a secret message, disguised as wash and wear. This shirt is trying to tell me that peace is the thing with stars, and flowers, and rolling waves of something… good vibes? And, in words, that peace is the thing with power.

I think that peace, like anger and grief, is a very tough sword to wield. I cannot hold onto it for long just now, not because it’s hot, but because it’s cool, too cool. Not cold either, but just, dare I cliche it? Chill. And, sometimes, it goes into hiding, and only the worthy can find it.

I am not a “pray the stress away” person, nor am I good at forgiving people I feel are trying to erase others. I like the saying that equality for all doesn’t mean less equality for you, it’s not pie. I am badly paraphrasing that, and I don’t know who wrote it, but it bears repeating. I would like to think that people are basically good at heart like Anne Frank said in her diary, but Anne never got to complete her diary because some people erased her, slowly and cruelly. If you’re against immigrants, if you’re against gay and lesbian people, trans people, people who are not cis-gendered, if you’re against people who have no religion or a different one from you, if you’re against science and vaccines, if you’re against democracy and the peaceful transition of power, if you’re against sometimes your candidate wins, and sometime he loses and you play fair and accept it, if you’re against facts, if you’re against people of color, or “just black people,” well, man, I cannot tolerate you, and you actively fomenting, even just being around, gives me no peace. I cannot wield the sword of my own peace against the onslaught of you.

And maybe peace is so heady, stalwart, and chill all at the same time because we’re not supposed to be at peace when the world is full of rot. Maybe we’re supposed to be itchy and twitchy and uncomfortable and raging inside and crying inside and out and not getting any damn sleep so that, even if we are not the one in the crosshairs, we cannot ignore injustice.

I believe the world will be changed, ultimately, not by the ones who get hot and violent, but by those who are able, over and over again, to wield the chill of peace. But I think peace may only reveal itself to the worthy, and I ain’t there yet. Are you?

2021 IS HERE. NOW WHAT?

That’s me, up there, @ 5am. I am just out of bed and modeling two new gifts from my oldest and dearest. She brought me a beautiful rebozo from her trip to Mexico, in my favorite color, green, and the wonderful RBG collar “I dissent” earrings. First thing in the morning, no make-up (though teeth are brushed) I look okay for an old gal. One thing about an old pal, she gets you.

So who the fuck uses the word gal?

It turns out M-W says that gal is, essentially, a reflection of dialect. People dropped the R and extended the I until it became gal.

However, gal ain’t such a bad word. I like it when you think of it as being an old gal. And I like it as a unit to measure acceleration in relation to gravity. Like this gal is taking off from gravity-central, Earth. No longer Earth-bound.

And we come to the end of a very Earth-bound year, 2020.

I did not love 2020.

And I did, too.

It’s been very very sad, stressful, frustrating. Like, what do I do without my big brother on this Earth? Thought I like to think of him playing pinochle with the old folks in heaven and being overfed by my Grandmom, it’s not something I really believe or believe in. He’s just gone. His sweet face, his funny laugh, his great jokes, his little groove he did when he was playing his guitar, his big eyes behind his glasses. I think of him constantly. I know the way people feel who have lost loved ones this year, their people, who died on ventilators, alone, and they weren’t able to say goodbye. Covid didn’t get Bill, but he went out the same way as the ones it did, and possibly because he was trying to avoid going to the hospital and getting exposed. But that’s no matter, no matter, however the one you love left, there is still the hole.

And hey, 2021, what do I do if I’m not endlessly fretting about the guy running the country who some of us elected in 2016? True, he ain’t quite gone yet, but I’ve lifted beyond fear that he will never leave. He is going to go, and January 20th is coming at us, and no amount of proud assholes can stop it. I do worry that a lot of people will be needlessly hurt by the giant limp dick in the White House constantly calling the racists to him, but I can’t stop that, and I hope the good-guys stay home and safe, rather than try to take them on. I am relieved to know, straight out, which of my neighbors are racists and haters, so I may avoid them, and they are easy to spot, those whose signs still stand in their yards, because the winners all took their signs down. In any case, what do I do if I’m not fretting a megalomaniac’s existence?

I think the answer is to grow… me.

I have loved 2020.

I have loved it.

I am so sorry to all those I love who have hated it and cannot wait for it to be over and itch and prickle and are so uncomfortable and get this over with!

I don’t want the virus to be in our lives, I don’t.

And I don’t want to go back to my pre-virus-shutdown life.

I am home. I am happily introverting. I do not have to spend hours commuting. My husband and child are with me. We are all getting along and “getting” each other better than we ever have. We miss friends, but we are so in-tune. We are really enriching each other’s lives. We are enjoying each other’s company. We are not tied to our devices, though we do love a good game of Among Us and I do like to read WaPo on my phone. We learn together, we exercise together, we cook together. We split up and do our own things, writing, reading, art. We make art together. We grow together. And I don’t, yet, have enough time. I have more time than I have ever had to myself and for myself, and I don’t yet have enough time. And I know that by next fall I will probably have to be back on the road and in the classroom and it makes me so sad, for me, not for my students who will certainly prefer that, but for me. I will so much miss this life. I will miss running in the mornings and then walking the dog, before anyone is awake in the house, and even the development in which I live. I will miss quiet coffee-time with my beloved WaPo to read, and no hurry to be anywhere. And I love getting dressed, and I have not stopped that. Every day, except Sundays, I shower and dress as if I am leaving the house, everything but the shoes.

There was a funny article in WaPo in September, “Some people are getting hotter during the pandemic. How dare they.” And I found it inspiring, and I had begun running the month before, so I could participate in a social justice 5K, and it (the article) helped me keep going. I love my running, and, of course, I hate it too, but I do it now, or I ride my bike, 5-6 days/week. That never would have happened had I not been on lockdown.

I am not good, being a people-pleaser, at saying “No” to things I don’t want to do, and the lockdown has helped with that, a lot. Never have to say “No,” because no one can get together.

I think that 2020 inspires me to declare that Introverts Rule! Barbara Streisand was wrong. People who need people are not the luckiest people in the world. People who are okay with themselves, alone, and their intimate few, are actually the luckiest people. I was doing fine before, and it was not my preferred habitat. Now I’m in the habitat that fits me, I am thriving.

Don’t get me wrong. I do miss having a meal or a coffee with a friend, and I’m not, generally, overwhelmed with social invitations. But I am so very happy to have more time to devote to my business, my health, and my own projects.

2020, am I glad to see the back of you? Yes. Do I long for a White House where an English professor and her dog live with her very nice husband? Yes. Do I want to go back to “normal” of running to and fro and never doing the things that are important to me? No. No. No. No.

So many people I know feel like this year is a year without power, like the lights have all been off, and we’re wandering in the dark. I don’t deny there are things about 2020 that have pushed the envelope of absolute shit. But, for myself, and for my family, it has, in many ways, been one of our best years, simply because of the freedom from living a life scheduled by someone else. Here’s hoping I can think of a way out of “normal” before all the lights get turned back on again.

Happy New Year everyone. May this year bring you a world reconfigured and renewed in the way that suits you best.